Honor Student Kept Out Of Class Over Hair Color

A Philadelphia honor student is facing a possible failing grade for the year, not because of her schoolwork but the color of her hair.

This is a student who gets good grades, stays out of trouble and even interns for a magazine. But her form of self expression landed her in hot water with the school's principal.

Now, she's facing a failing grade for standing up for what she believes in, FOX 29's Stephanie Salvatore reported.

Sasha Rivera, 15, isn't at school this week taking finals like her classmates. She's at home instead of the charter school she attends, the Multi-Cultural Academy Charter School, protesting her principal's decision to ban her blue hair in the classroom.

"He told me, 'The blue hair has to go by tonight, or you will not be allowed back in class tomorrow," she said.

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According to Sasha, her hair was dyed blue for more than a week – and green for several months before that. So, neither she nor her parents know why she was told that her hair color was inappropriate for a school setting.

She's facing the danger of repeating the 10th grade because she has missed more than 20 days so close to the end of the year.

"When I reviewed the handbook, there was nothing in it on blue hair. It just says hair just must be neatly groomed and kept nice – nothing on hair color," Sasha said.

The school would not comment on the situation on camera. But the dean of students tells us they sent a certified letter to Sasha's parent following a phone conversation.

They offered Sasha two options: She could come back with blue hair and complete assignments and tests outside of the regular classroom, or she could dye her hair back to a natural color.

Although she has surpassed the 25 absences that subject her to administrative failure, Sasha and her parents say they're sticking to their guns.

"It's who I am. It's how I like to express myself," Sasha said. "And the school says they support individuality. You just kind of went back on that. You know, you don't support individuality, apparently, if you don't support my individuality."

The dean of students tells FOX 29 News that if Sasha can present legitimate medical reasons for not being in school, there's a possibility of waiving the excessive absence policy. But if she does not come in to complete her finals this week, no such waiver will be offered.

For  more stories: MyFoxPhilly.com

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